When your bare feet touch wet sand or moist grass, the earth transfers a supply of electrons to your body, which helps support your immune system. These electrons have antioxidant properties that may help quench inflammation. This process is called Earthing or grounding.
According to natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, this may be one of the most potent antioxidants known, with effective anti-inflammatory effects on the body. However, if you live in the city or are an office worker, you may not be able to utilize the earth’s own antioxidant properties.
Why the Earthing Connection Is Lost
Believe it or not, you are an electrical being. Your body regularly emits positive charges, which can harm your health if produced in excessive amounts. Earthing can help balance this as it maintains a negative charge with its free electron supply continuously replenished by the global atmospheric electrical circuit.
Historically, humans spent most of their days with their bare skin next to the earth when they walked or slept. They wore or used perspiration-moistened animal skins for footwear or sleeping mats, which helped conduct electrons from the earth into their bodies. Your skin also serves as an effective conductor.
This vital connection, however, has long been lost. Most Americans today spend their waking hours wearing shoes with rubber and plastic soles. As these materials are effective insulators, they disconnect you from the earth. Surfaces that also hinder you from taking electrons from the earth include asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, and tar.
To make matters worse, free radical exposure from mercury pollution, cigarettes, insecticides, pesticides, trans fats, and radiation can deplete your body of electrons. Chronic exposure to such elements may also induce inflammation and may lead to numerous chronic diseases.
How Earthing Benefits Your Health
According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, M.D., inflammation occurs when:
- Your blood is thick
- You have high levels of free radical stress
- You have a lot of positive charges in your body
Hypercoagulable or thick, slow-moving blood can induce inflammation, because when your blood does not flow well, oxygen is not effectively distributed to your tissues. When you connect with the earth, you receive negative electrons. Grounding also helps thin your blood by improving its zeta potential, which improves the energy between your red blood cells.
According to research, it can take about 30 to 80 minutes for the earth’s free electrons to reach your bloodstream, enabling you to maximize their antioxidant and blood-thinning benefits.
Other benefits associated with grounding, reported in an article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, include improvements in your energy levels, immune function, and heart rate variability, as well as in the following conditions:
- Sleep problems like sleep apnea
- Chronic pain, including joint and muscle pain
- Respiratory conditions like asthma
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Tips for Effective Grounding
Many experts, including scientist Dr. David Suzuki and several NASA astronauts, swear by walking on the beach or taking a stroll on moist grass. History also shows that certain civilizations who valued their relationship to the earth also practiced grounding.
Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the best ways to incorporate Earthing and exercise into your daily life. For instance, the Tarahumara people of New Mexico are one of the modern-day cultures that continue to practice barefoot living, along with barefoot running. Their people are known as some of the most skilled runners in the world, as they can run up to 200 miles over a two-day period.
If you live in an urban area, look for parks or barefoot-friendly surfaces to help you receive electrons. Grounding is also possible indoors. Dr. Mercola recommends using a grounding pad, which is an excellent way to obtain electrons while working or sleeping. It also helps you ground during winter.
You may also ground while flying on a plane by simply removing your shoes and placing your feet on the metal support frame in the seat in front of you. Apart from helping you receive free electrons, this practice can help lessen radiation damage at high altitudes.
While grounding provides these amazing health benefits, Dr. Mercola says that it is not a “treatment” for any disease or condition. “Like eating right, exercising and sleeping, grounding can be described as yet another lifestyle habit that supports optimal health,”.